Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Quaker guns and non-functioning decoy cannons

Wooden artillery used for training purposes
During World War I, non-functioning imitation cannons served two purposes. If they were more or less accurate models of actual battlefield artillery (above), they could be used to train soldiers to become accustomed to their use.

At the same time, there was also a need for non-functioning dummy cannons, traditionally known as “Quaker guns,” to throw off the enemy’s estimates of the size and location of forces. These were often crudely built from scrap lumber, since they would only be seen from a distance. Others (like the one below, probably made from papier maché) were more convincingly modeled. Once assembled and put into position, it was important to camouflage them as if they were genuine functioning guns.

Non-functioning decoy cannon, not yet camouflaged